Sam Shepard, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright and 'Notebook' Actor, Dead at 73
By Antoinette Bueno
Accomplished playwright and actor Sam Shepard has died, ET can confirm. He was 73 years old.
Shepard died at his home in Kentucky on July 27 of complications from ALS, and was surrounded by his family at the time of his death, Chris Boneau, spokesman for the family, said on Monday. Shepard is survived by his children -- Jesse, Hannah and Walker Shepard -- and his sisters, Sandy and Roxanne Rogers.
Funeral arrangements remain private, and plans for a public memorial have not yet been determined.
"The family requests privacy at this difficult time," Boneau said in a statement.
Shepard found incredible success as both a playwright and as an actor. He won a Pulitzer Prize for drama for his 1979 play, Buried Child, and wrote 40 plays over the course of his career. He also wrote the screenplays for Zabriskie Point; Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas; and Robert Altman's Fool for Love, a film version of his play of the same title. As writer/director, he filmed Far North and Silent Tongue in 1988 and 1992 respectively.
The beloved actor was also nominated for an Oscar in 1983 for his role in The Right Stuff. His film accomplishments include starring in numerous hit films -- including Steel Magnolias, Black Hawk Down and August: Osage County -- and also memorably played Ryan Gosling's father, Frank Calhoun, in The Notebook.
Most recently, he starred in Netflix's Bloodline.
Shepard dated actress Jessica Lange from 1982 to 2009, and they had two children together. Lange, 68, recently spoke about Shepard in an interview with AARP The Magazine for the August/September issue.
"I wouldn't call Sammy easygoing and funny, but everybody has their dark side, and he always does it with a sense of humor," she said of her longtime partner. "Having children gives you a perspective you didn't have before. You are no longer the center of the universe. It opened my heart, made me a different person. Every move you make is with someone else in mind. I loved being a mother more than anything else in the world, and being a grandmother is even more fun."
In October, Renee Zellweger, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Garner and Courteney Cox stepped out for The ALS Association Golden West Chapter Los Angeles County Walk to support their mutual friend and famed power publicist Nanci Ryder, who suffers from the incurable disease.